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Silva Hits the Big-Time

The first thing that strikes you, other than – no kidding – the darkest eyes you have ever seen, is how small he is, almost Lilliputian. When Roberto Mancini paraded his first four summer signings at a press conference last week he said he had brought in Yaya Touré, Aleksandar Kolarov and Jérôme Boateng, in part, because of their power and size. Then he turned to David Silva, sitting to his right, put his arm around him and gave him a reassuring squeeze. "Maybe not David," he said, "but this a fantastic footballer. You know, I wanted to sign this guy five years ago for Internazionale. He has kept me waiting."

The strange thing is that, as yet, Silva's arrival in England has not fired the public's imagination as might have been anticipated. Perhaps it is a legacy of the World Cup, where he started only the first match for Spain. Or maybe it was that the signing was agreed in the final week of June, when everyone was fixated on the events in South Africa.

Whatever the reason, Manchester City have got themselves a whole bundle of Jimmy Krankie-sized talent. Silva is the reason English football's biggest spenders have not gone for Mesut Ozil. He is one of the "little guys" in the Spanish national side, a player who embodies the lacerating pass-them-to-death style, where the philosophy is that giving away the ball is a sin.

Silva is the player Fernando Torres wanted at Liverpool. José Reina, another of Liverpool's Spanish contingent, says: "He might barely measure 1.50m but he has talent to die for." In England, an accomplished left foot is usually described as "educated". El Pais, the Spanish newspaper, reckons Silva has "a mine in his". Oh, and his right one is not too bad either. Carlos Tevez, you imagine, could fall in love with this guy.

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